Friday, June 17, 2005

Sa Pusod ng Dagat...Ano Daw?

My last topic consisted of a rather asinine discussion of the word bellybutton and its previously unknown Tagalog counterpart. It was rather a relief for me, literally and figuratively, to finally chance upon the native term for the navel, which is pusodPusod is the navel literally, and so my friends say, should not be confused with the word puson that is the rather noticeable tummy part below the navel for most women. The puson becomes rather enlarged due to lack of proper exercise, pregnancy, or the monthly visitor, and has a tendency to make one's shopping trip miserable when one discovers that a beautiful pair of bottoms cannot fit or look right.

Anyway, the word pusod is also a mystery to me in the sense that it was used in the phrase sa pusod ng dagat. (I remember this Tagalog flick that was titled Sa Pusod Ng Dagat; and I don't know or care what it was all about.) Does it literally mean “the navel of the sea?” The sea actually has a navel? (Hello, sorry, bimbo moment right here...) Does the phrase refer to a part of the sea much deeper than usual, or where the oceanic crust (oh, the Geo 11 nerd in me!) is much thinner that you can actually skewer the mantle after drilling into it a few meters or so? Is it the part of the ocean once connected to land? Somebody better give me an answer quick because such questions give me insomnia most nights...

Speaking of insomnia, isn't it quite irritating when your body clock goes haywire on you? Most people actually do experience what I shall term anticipatory insomnia. When you have an early class/engagement/meeting/event the next day, the body simply refuses to get a much needed 6-8 hours of sleep to keep the mind fresh and the body energized the next day. You wake up groggy and crabby after some 0-2 hours of light sleep. When you have nothing much to do or things of little importance to you, your body simply hits the pillows as if hypnotized by the bed itself. Or sometimes, you have an exam or a major project due the next day and you take a little “5-minute” nap expecting to get an energy boost, only to wake up the next day in horror upon realizing you've slept for fourteen hours straight, with nothing on your hands or the fact that you have no excuse for missing the exam. Then there are the days when you have nothing to pass or that you have no classes but then your stupid human shell suddenly has this bright idea of adapting the “early-to-bed, early-to rise” or “the early bird gets the worm” or “an early bird is a nice obedient virtuous bird” sort of thing. Crazy isn't it?

Now, you have to excuse me because I have to ponder on my list of life's greatest mysteries and why I dreamt of bacon (yummy, crispy, golden brown, and full of nitrates that can kill me before I'm thirty sort) all night last night.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Belly Button

Can the word "belly button" be translated into Tagalog? This morning I woke up with a jolt, trying to remember if I had classes or not. It dawned on me that this was a Wednesday, my mid-week sanity break, and proceeded to think about my life's greatest mysteries today, the Tagalog counterpart of belly button being one of them. My Tagalog-English and English-Tagalog vocabulary has suffered from neglect for the past few years; I haven't heard, spoken, or written in straight Tagalog since elementary with the exception of trying to explain Machiavelli to my Soc Sci II professor last semester. I can't find the proper term for belly button in Tagalog, and I can't even remember the anatomically-correct description for the little strange hole that isn't actually a hole that once connected me to my mother's uterine lining.

Don't get me all started on my English now because I can no longer enunciate words properly as well; what usually starts out as the word "sheet" in my brain is somehow abbreviated by my tongue (and to my horror) as somehow sounding more like "shit." I comfort myself that I still haven't reached the point where I exchange f for p or pronounce spaghetti like "is-pa-ge-ti." There was a time when people were asking me for the literal translation of the Tagalog word pangingilo/nangingilo" and I couldn't help but laugh because the first words that came to my mind was the line from the Sensodyne commercial "Pain when you eat cold or hot foods." It was quite a mouthful considering that pangingilo is the sudden stabbing pain you feel upon eating food that is heated or cooled to a temperature very unlike your teeth that has been rendered sensitive by God-knows-what. Hahaha, the mysteries of translation where chemistry becomes kimika or kapnayan. But asshole that I can be, I still snigger when other people mispronounce words like sheep or fringing; sheep sounded like shep from a History classmate and fringe in the word fringing became “free-ng-ngeeng” when pronounced by my Physics professor.

Speaking of belly button, it is still a mystery to me why some people are outties and some are innies. (If you don't know what outtie or innie means, it is this: you're an outtie when your belly button protrudes and an innie if it doesn't.) Is it because of the way the umbilical cord is cut and clamped by the midwife or ob-gyne? Does it have to do with one being unusually active as a child inside the mom's womb that results to being an outtie or the nurse accidentally pulling off all the umbilical cord that results to being an innie? Some people actually make a big issue of what the belly button looks like, i.e. that it looks the print model look ugly or that it protrudes too much that the MTRCB has to sanction the TV host to wear nipple tape over her belly button. Pregnant women usually become outties if they were innies in the first place; pregnant outties usually become mega-outties like Kelly Ripa when she's pregnant.

The more mysterious thing to me is why people are so sensitive in the belly button area. Is it because the skin is thinner there? I remember the time I accidentally brushed against the belly button of my ex (we were not fooling around, mind you) and he recoiled in horror. I asked him why and he told me that his childhood nanny used to scare him that if you touch the belly button, you can eventually puncture the skin and touch your bloody innards. (Now what kind of story is that?) It somehow stuck to his mind and wouldn't even dare clean his belly button with cotton swabs and oil without sucking his breath first. Even some people recoil like my ex when I ask them if they clean theirs regularly; they are probably as afraid as my ex because some yaya of theirs told them the same ridiculous story when they were younger. I have no problems with my belly button and I am still mystified that I am the only one not squeamish enough to poke it.

Belly button was actually my mom's term of endearment, along with mahal, or anak. It rhymes with my real nick and becomes K.B.B. when my mom fully pronounces it. She rarely uses it now that I am legally an adult but somehow, she uses it when she makes lambing or wants me to be her baby again. I am actually on my last year of being a teenager and no longer quite a baby except for my occasional tantrum or panic attack. Makes me feel so old and young at the same time. Hehehe, I wonder if my mom will smile and pout sadly at the same time if she gets to read this. Advanced happy birthday, Ma. Thanks for my new room and bath room.